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2018 A season in review

Bobcats season ends with the thoughts of unfinished business!

The Bobcats 2018 season has now come to an end, a season that initial started with a lot of freshness to the Bobcats as a whole. With an increase in backroom staff via the stepping up of veteran players taking on positional coaches. 

The Bobcats started the 2018 pre-season with the departure of our OC and re-shuffling, adding new offensive line coach Paul Joughin, receiver coach Jason Griffith, running back coach Davy Baker, defensive coaches Lee Davies and Tom Burn all veteran players whom stepped up to improve the Bobcats team. 

That wasn't the only thing new this season, the Bobcats not being favoured at their new home moved to another new home Poole Rugby club.  Keeping with the fresh theme the Bobcats re-designed their home kit via the excellent work of Ridge Sports, which was sponsored by our new sponsor Monty's Lounge. 

 

Of all the new, the most important the Bobcats recruited 32 rookies to the side with some hidden gems throughout them. With all the new flying around the Bobcats approached the season with a fresh attitude wanting to do away with the disappointment of the 3-7 2017 season. 

A season not ruled by injuries like the previous and a change of schedule from 10 games a season to 8,  the Bobcats ended with a feeling of unfinished business at a 3-4-1. 

The Bobcats started their season with a familiar feel a home game against long time rivals the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts. The Dreadnoughts having transformed over the last two seasons in to the now SFC 2 South favourites. On a wet afternoon in April the Bobcats struggled to find their feet early on. The offence unable to find the right gear to get going and the Dreadnought defence stopping anything thrown their way. The game ended in defeat and thoughts of another disappointing season started to flood in the minds of some Bobcats starting out at 0-1.

Game 2 and the Hastings Conquerors came to Bournemouth (well Poole but whatever) the Conquerors a team full of heart but low on numbers. The Bobcats found their feet and the new BU Bobcat recruits came alive. One in particular Jean-Alexandre Geas or 'Titi' for short, the flying Frenchman (slower than me obviously but he has some speed I guess) whom scored 3 touchdowns and took the game into his own hands, the season 1-1 moods improved. 

Game 3 the some what turning point of the Bobcats season the home game against the Swindon Storm. A team the Bobcats have played previously and have always had close games against. The Bobcats fell behind early on and the Bobcats offence could not get going (mainly due to a few dropped catches but we don't need to talk about that). Previous Bobcat fashion fall behind get frustrated keep losing, but this time the team rallied together continued fighting. Where two touchdown passes and a rushing one from QB#1 Macdonald pulled the Bobcats back to take the win.  

This wasn't the turning point for the Bobcat offence though, this was the defensive turning point. Things clicked rookies stepped up to make big plays the Swindon Storm held to no points in the second half.  David Isaacs switching to LB to help out on defence made a name for himself hitting everything that tried to pass his line of scrimmage. 2-1 a two game winning streak, defence playing very well, offence ok not quite there yet but now the Hertfordshire Cheetahs were up next.  

The Bobcats approached this game with confidence on both sides of the ball no doubt after some good training sessions. A much closer game than the Cheetahs would have wanted or even expected and a touchdown that was not given. (My feet were in bounds and I stand by that!!) The Bobcats defence kept the game competitive but the Cheetahs defence were well disciplined, drilled and able to make that one play bigger to hold out and get a narrow win. 2-2 on the season but after a performance that kept up pace with the high powered Cheetahs confidence was still high at Bobcats head quarters. 

That brought the half way mark, 2-2 evens competing with big sides things weren't looking to bad. Well except for the now 4 away games in a row and the Bobcats a team whom don't do travelling well. Due to the round robin nature of an 8 game schedule the Bobcats had the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts again. 

At this point the Dreadnoughts defence had conceded a matter zero points all season. The Bobcats offence love spoiling a party and recorded the first offensive touchdown on the Dreadnoughts, a well placed pass from QB#1 Macdonald  to WR #89 Griffith taking the lead late into the 3rd quarter.  The defence holding strong playing hard made one minor mistake, showing how small the margin between a win and a loss can be in football. 

The season now 2-3 and after such a well fought close affair against the at the time number 1 ranked division 2 side the Bobcats confidence remained unshaken.  Big game after big game, a travel to the Hertfordshire Cheetahs up next. 

Unfortunately this game wasn't as close as the first, the Bobcats travelled very light and a few injuries to key rookie/Uni defensive players Leo Abate and Max lee-Sang left the Bobcats wanting. The Cheetahs defence massively improved over the first game shut down the Bobcats aerial attack and the offence inflicted a heavy scoreline, taking the season to 2-4.

Currently sitting at a losing season with two games to go, but due to the nature of a 8 game season the hopes of play-off football was still very much alive. 

Game 7 the long old travel to the Hastings Conquerors. In what was one of the oddest football games I have witnessed, where the Bobcats offence barely took to the field and special teams and defence just scored all the points between them. The Bobcats racked up a high scoring win, had a BBQ, a raffle and a good laugh with the Conquerors faithful and turned their attention to the final game sitting at 3-4. 

Game 8 a travel to the Swindon Storm, a side whom were quite evenly matched with Bobcats in the first game. The Bobcats not having play-off hopes in their own hands, were sort of not really keeping an eye on a SFC 2 West match up where an upset would get them to the play-offs. Of course the Bobcats had to win the game in front of them first before that was a possibility. 

Both sides very evenly matched and unable to fully get going on offence the game sitting at 0-0 at the half. This is where the feeling of unfinished business popped up, a serious injury to a Swindon player ended the game early in the third quarter. The game ended after a long delay at 0-0. (A draw in American Football I know nonsense but that's how it ended after the refs decided the ambulance is taking forever) 

The Bournemouth Bobcats hoping to finish at 4-4 or at least finish the last game,  had to settle for 3-4-1 which left a bad taste in everyone's mouths. The Bobcats will keep an eye on the play-offs to see whom is moving around the divisions, but they have very much moved on to 2019. 

And that boys and girls is it, here at the Bobcats we would like to thank all of the supporters who watched our home games and those that travelled to away games. To all of the chain crew ball boy/girls that helped out throughout the season we hope to see you again next season. A thank you to our sponsor Monty's Lounge and all of our other sponsors for the support. We would like to also thank The Bourne Academy for allowing us to train throughout the seasons and Poole Rugby Club for the short notice accommodation. 

That is it for the season (I know I'm sad too!) I leave you to look at the pictures. A selection of club photographer Chris Coope’s favourites of the 2018 season. (With a kitted up and stressed head coach thrown in too!!) Keep an eye out here, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and news on our 2019 rookie days and pre-season schedule. See you all next year and thanks for reading!

This is receiver #89 signing out again!!!